With no clarity on when the regular season might start, the San Francisco Giants closed their major and minor league facilities in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Thursday.
After Major League Baseball announced the 2020 season will be delayed until at least the middle of May due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the organization made the decision to shutter its complexes in Scottsdale.
There are no known positive tests among major league players or coaches to date, but two New York Yankees minor league players have tested positive for COVID-19. Zaidi said no one in the Giants organization has shown symptoms that would require a test.
“We’re continuing to monitor not just potential symptoms of people that were in camp, but also people that might have come through our camp,” Zaidi said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.
Zaidi said a handful of major league players had spent the last week working out at the team’s Scottsdale Stadium complex while a larger number of minor leaguers spent time at the team’s Indian School complex, but executives felt it was no longer realistic to keep the complexes operating even while players and coaches adhered to social distancing practices.
The Giants have also temporarily discouraged players from working out in public facilities and are telling them to instead stay at home.
”Even going out to public cages and workout facilities is not something that we would recommend right now,” Zaidi said.
The extended hiatus will eventually require teams to hold workouts akin to a second spring training that will allow players, particularly pitchers, to properly prepare for the start of the 2020 season.
“Players are going to start at the same point or maybe even behind where they are when they show up for spring training,” Zaidi said.
MLB announced Thursday that minor league players would receive a lump sum from their respective organizations “equal to the allowances that would have been paid through April 8,” which is when minor league camp was originally scheduled to end.
Zaidi said the Giants will take their support of minor league players a step further and pay the remaining balances on rents or leases owed through the first week of April. The Giants’ top baseball executive also said that while most players are able to travel home, about 15-to-20 minor leaguers –many from Venezuela– are unable to do so and will have temporary housing provided for them in Arizona.
Like the 29 other franchises, the Giants are awaiting word from MLB and the Players’ Association on how to proceed with regard to a number of labor issues such as paying major and minor leaguers during the season and how to handle opt-out clauses in contracts for veterans who agreed to minor league deals this offseason.
A number of players in camp including pitchers Trevor Cahill, Tyson Ross and Jerry Blevins and position players such as Yolmer Sánchez and Billy Hamilton are candidates to make the Giants’ Opening Day roster and most, if not all, have opt-out clauses in their contracts that would allow them to pursue other opportunities if they did not break camp with the major league team.
Zaidi said the Giants have yet to receive clarity on the matter and until told otherwise, will move forward as if they must honor the original opt-out dates, which could begin as soon as Friday. Barring an immediate decision from MLB that would unilaterally push back opt-out dates, the Giants could have a flurry of roster moves in the coming days as they scramble to clear 40-man roster space.
As the Giants await more guidance from major league baseball, members of the coaching and training staff will be expected to reach out to players for updates.
The team’s scouts remain in limbo. Zaidi said the Giants pulled scouts off the road last Thursday and they are determining ways they can best help the organization during an uncertain time.
Published at Thu, 19 Mar 2020 23:44:34 +0000